The introduction of Google Maps in 2005 saw a revolutionary shift in the way commuters navigated their way around. Over the years the web based app underwent several changes, adding useful new features such as street view and a comprehensive route planner. Now in 2014, the app is undergoing another change – enabling users to create their own customised maps.
My Maps is an upgrade of the former Google Maps Engine Lite. The Google Maps Gallery which was once only updated by the World Bank and U.S Geological Survey, is now open to everyone. So what has changed and how can the Google Maps Gallery help you?
The new My Maps app benefits from all of the old features of the app, with a few additional bonuses. These include:
All existing maps will automatically be upgraded. Google has stated that it will be upgrading all old maps by the end of 2014. Once they have been upgraded, users will be able to view, edit and share the maps. You can also add YouTube videos and images to the maps to provide additional information on each location.
Finding maps from other users is a breeze. You can search using specific keywords such as ‘famous poets’ and you will be presented with numerous results around the world. Currently the app is only available to Android mobile users and desktop users.
Benefits of the new app
The new My Maps app takes map creation to a whole other level. You can gain inspiration for your next trip by viewing other people’s maps and then create a full itinerary to follow throughout the journey. Make notes about landmarks you want to visit and highlight several places on the map in different colours for easy reference.
You can even create maps for things you are interested in. For example, if you are a Harry Potter fan, you can mark out all of the locations featuring Harry Potter attractions and places of interest. As you travel to each one, you can change the colour to clearly show where you have been and where you still want to go.
Business owners can benefit from adding icons which highlight their business locations. You can even use your own company logo, which helps with marketing the company. The maps can also be used to highlight where each team member currently is and what jobs they are working on.
Once you feel like you have created the perfect map, you can share it publicly so other people can benefit from your research. Or, if you would prefer, you can also keep the map private and simply share it with selected people.
Getting around has never been easier. Plan your route to fit your exact preferences and requirements. Choose to receive directions based on travelling via car, on foot or via public transportation. The app will show you whether there are any existing road works to be aware of and provide you with an estimated time of arrival. These new changes are definitely a step up and for those looking to create larger maps, there is a My Maps Pro version available.